Changes in Ecosystem Carbon 46 Years after Establishing Red Pine (Pinus resinosa Ait.) on Abandoned Agricultural Land in the Great Lakes Region
Reforestation of abandoned agricultural land may result in improved chemical and physical properties of degraded soil through the action of above-and below-ground litter input and increased root activity. In 1942, foresters at Michigan State University initiated a long-term study of soil changes on an abandoned agricultural site. A model for organic carbon (C) accumulation in an aggrading forest ecosystem includes fixation and storage in vegetation, with redistribution of some fraction of fixed C to the forest floor and mineral soil. Considerable C has accumulated in the forest floor and overstory of the site. Intensive management, to insure rapid reestablishment of leaf area, is required if rapid decomposition and loss of C stored in the forest floor is to be minimized. Species composition, as it affects litter quality and organic matter transfer, may be an important consideration if landscapes are to be managed for C storage.